Acupuncture for rheumatoid arthritis: A randomized, sham-controlled clinical trial




To assess the clinical effects of acupuncture in treating rheumatoid arthritis.


Seventy patients fulfilled at least 4 items of the diagnostic criteria for rheumatoid arthritis of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). All patients were instructed not to receive other relevant therapies during research. Patients were randomized into a treatment group and a control group by computer generated assigned codes to receive real acupuncture and sham acupuncture respectively. The codes of randomization were hidden from doctors and patients. Patients were studied before and after the whole acupuncture treatment sessions (36 treatments).The results were assessed according to changes of ESR mm/h, CRP mg/L, rheumatoid factor (RF), the radiological changes (the erosion and osteoporosis of hand or wrist joint), the intensity of pain by visual analogue scale (VAS), the modified questionnaire according to Laitinen and Zytkowski (the intensity of pain, frequency of pain, medicines, limitation of motive activity).


No significant differences in comparison of any parameters were shown before treatment. After treatment, the results of VAS and modified questionnaire were far better in the treatment group than in the control.


Acupuncture can achieve a positive result compared with the sham, and it is effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis.





共70 例患者, 均符合风湿性关节炎诊断标准(美国风湿病学院制定)中的至少4 项。 纳入对象在本次研究期间不接受其他相关治疗。 患者根据电脑产生的代码随机分为治疗组和对照组, 分别接受针刺治疗和假针刺治疗。 随机代码向患者和医生保密。 治疗前后对患者情况进行评价。 根据红细胞沉降率(Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate, ESR) (mm/h), C 反映蛋白(C Reactive Protein, CRP)(mg/L), 类风湿因子阳性, 影像学变化(手或腕关节骨质疏松及骨侵蚀情况), 疼痛的视觉模拟评分(Visual Analogue Scale, VAS), Laitinen 及 Zytkowski修订的调查问卷(涉及疼痛的强度、 频率, 用药情况及活动受限程度)评估治疗结果。


治疗前各指标组间差异无统计学意义。 治疗后VAS、 Laitinen 及 Zytkowski调查问卷两组间差异有统计学意义。 针刺治疗组疗效较好。


针灸治疗疗效优于假针刺治疗。 针刺疗法是治疗类风湿性关节炎的有效方法。

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to W. Zukow.

Additional information

Author: Walery Zukow, professor, dr hab. med., study field: acupuncture, physiotherapy, iridology, pathophysiology, physical culture and sport.

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Zukow, W., Kalisz, Z., Muszkieta, R. et al. Acupuncture for rheumatoid arthritis: A randomized, sham-controlled clinical trial. J. Acupunct. Tuina. Sci. 9, 168 (2011).

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Key Words

  • Acupuncture Therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid
  • Randomized Controlled Trial


  • 针刺疗法
  • 关节炎, 风湿性
  • 随机对照试验


  • R246.2